Crop damage by wild animals in Kerala, India, was studied from 1993 to 1996. Data were collected from the offices of the Kerala Forest Department, field survey and from the intensive study area at Marayur, Idukki District. Forty-five species of crops were destroyed by wild animals in Kerala, the species commonly destroyed by wild animals were paddy, coconut plam , plantains , cassava , arecanut, coffee, oil plam , pepper , jack tree, mulberry and manago.
The main animals involved in crop damage were elephant (Elephas maximus), gaur (Bos gaurus),sambar (Cervus unicolor), wild boar (Sus scrofa), bonnet macaque (Macaca radiate), common langur (Presbytis entellus), blacknaped hare (Lepus nigricollis) and pea fowl (Pavo cristatus). Among these, elephants andÂ wild board gave maximum damage . Of the total compensation claimed by the farmers, only 8.2% was sanctioned by the Kerala Forest Department.
The highest crop damage (30%) was recorded from the forest ranges coming under the Northern Circle: pinapple (47%) , sweet potato (47%), tapioca (42%), alocasia (39%) , beans (25%) and plantains (23%) recorded highest percentage of damage. In the intensive study area at Marayur, 28 species of crops were damaged and highest damage was during the summer months. At maximum damage was due to elephant (72%) followed by gaur (62%) , sambar (17%) and wild boar (16%) . Tiger (Panthera tigris), panther (leopard) (Panthera pardus) and wild dog (Conine alpinus) were the main cattle lifters in the state.
A total of 31 deaths and 64 injuries caused by wild animals were recorded from the state during the period 1983 to 1993. Thirteen indigenous methods used for controlling the crop damage had been identified. High voltage electric fencing using energizer was effective for stopping elephants and other herbivores from entering the agriculture fields. Crop damage is found to be linked to the cropping pattern and location of the agriculture fields. Short term and long-term measures needed to prevent the crop damage are discussed (JaysonÂ EA,1999).
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